I continue with Stephen Cook’s new commentary, Reading Deuteronomy.
Cook says there are three great discourses by Moses in Deuteronomy. The first one takes up most of the first four chapters and was an addition to the version of Deuteronomy that Hilkiah found in the Temple.
From this first discourse I am picking out just one issue to highlight. The issue is the struggle for the Transjordan in chapters 2 and 3.
Deuteronomy apparently follows accounts of this from sources–the Elohist and perhaps others. Israel did not fight with Edom, Moab or Ammon. But they were to clear the territory that had once belonged to Jacob and was now occupied by kings Sihon and Og (Deuteronomy 2:24-3:11). This is a conquest story and is troubling to modern sensibilities for that reason. We think of American manifest destiny or South African Afrikaner entitlement. Or we may think of violent jihad, a…
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